Wellness

4 Happy Feelings That Are Contagious

The stress and strain of constantly being connected can sometimes take your life -- and your well-being -- off course. GPS For The Soul can help you find your way back to balance.

GPS Guides are our way of showing you what has relieved others' stress in the hopes that you will be able to identify solutions that work for you. We all have de-stressing "secret weapons" that we pull out in times of tension or anxiety, whether they be photos that relax us or make us smile, songs that bring us back to our heart, quotes or poems that create a feeling of harmony, or meditative exercises that help us find a sense of silence and calm. We encourage you to look at the GPS Guide below, visit our other GPS Guides here, and share with us your own personal tips for finding peace, balance and tranquility.

The chilly-weather season is notorious for catching colds, but did you know feelings are also contagious? As human beings, we're affected by others' emotions -- good or bad. Our brains are wired for empathy, and we can "catch" everything from a yawn to a case of the giggles.

Check out the four contagious happy feelings below, and the next time you're surrounded by a big group, "infect" someone with a little positivity.

Laughter
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A 2006 study found that laughter is contagious -- even if you aren't sure of the context of the conversation. The brain responds automatically to the sound, prepping the face muscles to smile.
Compassion
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As humans we are wired for compassion -- and as it turns out, we can also catch these feelings from others. When someone is on the receiving end of kindness, they usually feel compelled to give back themselves.
Joy
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In a foul mood? Surround yourself with your most joyful friends. A 2008 study found that people's happiness is directly affected by those who they are closest to. Those who were surrounded by happier people felt happier themselves.
Optimism
Optimism is a socially contagious feeling, according to one 2009 study. Positive people are considered "radiators" of good feelings, while pessimists were seen as "drains."

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